Don't mind the burden of collecting taxes
George Nilson's April 14 rejoiner, "Making workers work harder can be good," misses the main point in the controversy over whether taxpayers should be required to write two checks when they pay state and local income taxes in Maryland.
While it is true that handling 1.3 million additional checks would be an administrative burden for our office and the state treasurer's office, the main arguments against the requirement are the cost to the taxpayer, the real cost to the state and the fact that the message of separate state and local income taxes would be lost on 75 percent of taxpayers (those who are due refunds and do not write checks for paying taxes).
In fact, the requirement affects the 200,000 taxpayers who file quarterly estimated payments, those taxpayers who make monthly payments on delinquent accounts and the 300,000 taxpayers who write a check on April 15. Those taxpayers face the inconvenience and real cost of the dual payment; a cost especially critical to the thousands of taxpayers who deal with money orders instead of checks.
Taxpayers will also absorb the cost of additional personnel and equipment for timely processing of the additional checks or suffer the loss of $2 million in interest if no changes are made in processing.
I will be working with the legislative leadership, the governor and the state treasurer to solve this problem before it affects the taxpayers.
Louis L. Goldstein
Ginsberg poetry will pass test of time
With smug arrogance and his wearisome self-righteousness, George Will dismisses the life and contribution of the poet, Alan Ginsberg (April 10, "A distinctive American genius"). In Mr. Will's august opinion, Ginsberg's talent was barely mediocre. What's a contrast to the generous tribute offered by Andrei Codrescu in his essay (April 9, "On with the poem").
I'd wager that 100 years from now, the poetry of Alan Ginsberg will be revered and studied, along with the works of Whitman, Dickinson and Frost. Which of George Will's works will pass the test of time?
Stephen J. Stahley
Cheers for mayor, jeers for Henson
Mayor Kurt Schmoke has handled The Sun's research into the city housing department's policies and practices in a commendable manner. As a city resident, I appreciate The Sun's investment in raising our communal understanding of a complex and thorny problem. Even more, as a community health professional, I appreciate the enormous difficulties inherent in improving the quality of life for inner-city residents.
While Housing Commissioner Daniel Henson's response was disappointing, Mr. Schmoke's reaction was refreshing in his lack of defensiveness. He treats the series sulting report, an opportunity to question past practices and consider improvements.
Rebecca L. Ruggles
No exploited women, just happy strippers
The April 17 letter from Kathleen Scogna, "The Block typifies lingering sexism," is a perfect example of why the feminist movement has become completely discredited in this country. Her description of stripping as "the exploitation of women" shows her misunderstanding of the profession entirely.
A few of our friends happen to be strippers and they are happy with their career choice. They are not being forced into anything by cruel and exploitative boyfriends; they are not from broken or abusive homes, and they do not do drugs. They are, in fact, beautiful, intelligent women who realized that show business is one of the most lucrative fields in the world and have taken advantage of that fact.
Where else can a person make several thousand dollars a week working for 20 hours? So what if it only lasts while you're young? You can retire by 30.
Could it be that all feminist hand-wringing and saving-us-from-ourselves is really just nothing more than sour grapes?
Licensed day cares meet high standards
I am writing in response to your article about Diana Smith, the Parkville woman who sent six children from her unlicensed day care center to the hospital after a fire broke out in her home (April 13, "Child care providers not tracked").
On one hand, I think it's great that her neighbors and the relatives of the children in her care are supporting her.
On the other hand, I disagree with those who say the charges against her are unfair and that it doesn't matter whether she was licensed.
Granted, the quality of care she was providing may have surpassed that of many licensed providers but, as a licensed provider myself, I can assure you that there is a lot more to the process of becoming licensed than people realize.
The Child Care Division of the Department of Social Services does a very thorough inspection of the home that includes details many people don't think of.
The inspectors make sure items such as firearms, alcohol, cleaners, matches and knives are out of reach, out of sight and secured. They check all areas used for child care to make sure they are safe physically and hygiencially.
All adults in the home are required to have a criminal background check (in addition to personal references for the providers).
All members of the household must have physical exams and their pets must have their shots. We are required to have initial and on-going training for safety, child care and child development.
Last, but not least, the state fire marshal inspects the home for working smoke detectors, two exits in each area used for child care, a fire escape plan, fire extinguisher, and flammable materials or fire hazards. Many of these criteria, had Ms. Smith's home been inspected, approved and licensed, could have prevented her tragic experience.
Many people don't bother to apply for a day care license because there is so much involved, and then they are required to carry liability insurance and pay self employment taxes.
I wish Ms. Smith luck and hope she overcomes this ordeal (i.e. deals with the charges and becomes a licensed, registered provider) because Maryland needs people like her to provide quality care for our children. But I also hope her experience sends a message to other unlicensed providers.
And to all those parents leaving their children with unlicensed providers, it's not just a piece of paper.
When the health, safety and well-being of your children are at stake, is it really worth the risk?
Pub date: 4/23/97